David Russell Strathairn (born January 26, 1949) is an American actor. He was nominated for an Academy Award for portraying journalist Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. He has appeared in many of writer/director John Sayles's movies.
Strathairn was born in San Francisco, California, the second of three children of Mary Frances (née Frazier), a nurse, and Thomas Scott Strathairn, Jr., a physician. He is of Scottish descent through his paternal grandfather, Thomas Scott Strathairn, a native of Crieff, and of Native Hawaiian ancestry through his paternal grandmother, Lei. Strathairn attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, California, and graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1970.
He studied clowning at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Venice, Florida and briefly worked as a clown in a travelling circus.